It’s every employer’s worst nightmare: one of your best employees walks into your office and hands you her resignation letter. She’s been offered a better opportunity at another company. While you want the best for all of your employees, you can’t help but wonder why so many feel their career paths have to take them elsewhere.
You’re not alone. A 2015 survey by Gallup found that when employees change career roles, 93 percent of them leave their current company to do so. This means that in order to continue on their career path, an overwhelming majority of employees feel they need to find a job with another company.
Perhaps there are chances for advancement within your company, but your current employees aren’t seeing them. By examining this disconnect, employers can begin to more effectively address employees’ needs. This will lead to improved retention of your top talent.
Here are three ways you can show your employees that all their career dreams can come true at your company:
1. Define career paths.
At every level of your organization, there needs to be clear career paths employees can follow to move up the ranks. Few employees view their current position as the end of their career tract. In fact, the 2015 Job Seeker Nation Survey by Jobvite found that 28 percent of job seekers consider their job as a temporary stepping stone.
The key word there is job seeker, which implies those employees are looking for another job to advance to. They already believe staying with their current company isn’t the best step on in their career path.
The outlook is even dimmer for young employees that could be a reliable workforce for you in the for years to come. In the Jobvite survey, 32 percent of Millennials view their job as temporary.
How can you show your current employees that a better job waits for them with you? The best way is to promote from within. Consider again the statistic of 93 percent of employees changing companies in order to change jobs. That means companies are choosing to hire outsiders instead of promoting their own seasoned employees.
To stop the cycle of having your employees leave for other opportunities, show them that you advance your own. Offer training so that when an employee retires, you have someone ready to replace them. When you start planning to expand your company, let your current employees know about the new opportunities that will become available. See who’s interested in new responsibilities and tell them how they can get prepared to take on a new role.
2. Recognize when a position’s duties have grown beyond the original job description.
Job positions change and evolve over time. You assign new tasks to your employees, as new trends emerge in your industry. However, at some point, an employee gains a lot more responsibilities than what she was hired for.
2014 research from Office of the Future found that 41 percent of administrative professionals feel their job description has become inaccurate given new duties.
Ask your employees to write their own job descriptions and compare those to the ones you used to hire them. If you discover that certain employees have taken on significantly more responsibilities, compensate them appropriately. Give them a raise, a better job title, or a nicer office to show that you recognize the extra effort.
Also, look out for experienced employees who have organically taken on leadership roles. Who does everyone in the department turn to when they have a question? That person is taking the time to improve his co-workers’ performance. Acknowledge that by offering more leadership training or roles that move him up in the company.
3. Check-in with your seasoned employees.
When you interview a job candidate, you ask them where they see themself in five years. But after they’ve been with you for five years, do you ever check-in to see if they’ve accomplished their goals?
Whether it’s an employee who’s still green or one with a decade under their belt, keep track of each employees' career plan. [click to tweet] Talk with them about the progress they’ve made when you meet for performance reviews,
Give them feedback on strengths that will help them in the future, and talk about ways to improve. Provide ways to address weaknesses through in-house and outside training that will give them the skills they need.
If an employee has a very specific position they’d like to hold one day, organize lunches that match them up with employees currently in the position. That way they can receive advice from someone who’s already found a way to climb up the ladder.
Remember, it’s not enough to have opportunities for your current employees. You have to show them how they can follow their career paths and give them the tools to reach their goals at your company.
What other ways can you address your seasoned employees’ advancement needs?